Incredibles, Ryan Capture Oscars

Disney, Pixar and the animated stars of The Incredibles flexed their mighty muscles Sunday night by nabbing the Oscar for Best Animated Feature during the 77th annual Academy Awards ceremony. Animation had a significant presence during the event, which opened with a film montage of classic clips that ended with Shrek and Charlie Chaplin walking off together into the sunset.

Accepting the award for The Incredibles, director Brad Bird said, ‘I just want to thank the holy trinity of Pixar’my good friend, John Lasseter, Ed Catmull and Steve Jobs’for making the greatest studio on the face of the earth.’ He observed, ‘Animation is about creating the illusion of life and you can’t create it if you don’t have one,’ before going on to thank his parents, his wife and his three children.

Bird then made another appearance, so to speak, as the voice of the animated Edna E. Mode, costume designer to the superheroes in The Incredibles. Edna joined Pierce Brosnan on stage to present the award for Best Costume Design, which she declared ‘the most prestigious award of the evening.’

The Incredibles also scored a win for Best Sound Editing, trumpping fellow nominees Spider-Man 2 from Sony and The Polar Express from Warner Bros. Bird’s Incredibles script was up for Best Original Screenpaly, but ended up losing to Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spottless Mind.

Chris Landreth took the prize for Best Animated Short for Ryan, a CG-animated psuedo-documentary on the life of Ryan Larkin, an Oscar-nominated Canadian animator who now panhandles for spare change. ‘I am here tonight because of the grace and humility of one guy watching from Montreal,’ said Landreth. ‘Ryan Larkin, I dedicate this award to you.’

Snatching the statuette for Best Visual Effects was Sony’s Spider-Man 2 (John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara and John Frazier). The team beat out the wizards behind Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and 20th Century Fox’s I, Robot. Dykstra, who previously earned an Oscar for his pioneering work on Star Wars, commented, ‘Boy, am I glad there wasn’t a fourth episode of The Lord of the Rings.’

Meanwhile, the live-action race was a job for tough guy Clint Eastwood as the Academy made his day by naming him Best Director and honoring Million Dollar Baby with several awards, including Best Picture. Eastwood’s co-stars, Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman, won Best Actress and Best supporting Actor, respectively.

Eastwood won over fellow film icon Martin Scorsese, who had hopes of earning his first Oscar for The Aviator. Though he didn’t win, his film picked up a number of awards, including kudos for cinematography, art direction, costume design, editing and more. The film also earned Cate Blanchett a Best Supporting Actress win for her portrayal of screen legend Katharine Hepburn.

Other notable wins include Jamie Foxx taking Best Actor for playing musical genius Ray Charles in Ray and Valli O’Reilly and Bill Corso grabbing Best Makeup for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Animator Frank Thomas, one of Disney’s famed Nine Old Men, was featured in the annual montage of the recently departed, as was actress Fay Wray, most famous for playing opposite a giant, animated ape in the original King Kong.

For a complete list of this year’s Academy Award winners, visit www.oscars.org.